Essay: Music in the 21st Century

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[. . .] " The song's lyrics tell of a bored woman, annoyed by pestering calls of a lover who will not leave her alone as she drinks and dances (presumably with someone else) in a club. The video is far more outrageous, portraying Gaga and Beyonce going on a killing spree, Thelma-and-Louise-style, after being angered by a leering man in a diner. However, the lyrics are in their own way just as radical, given the conventional image in song of the woman waiting by the phone, praying that the man will call her soon.

Gaga's activism has linked her strongly with gay rights, which she celebrated in "Born this Way," encouraging all of her listeners to be themselves, regardless of what society tells them is wrong or right. She also has dressed in drag, including wearing a tie while speaking on behalf of same-sex marriage rights. Through her success and her willingness to be 'on the edge,' Gaga hopes to inspire others. "When I say to you, there is nobody like me, and there never was, that is a statement I want every woman to feel and make about themselves...I don't make it as a defense...I know my greatness is individual. And I want every woman to be able to say that" (Powers 2009).

Gaga's persona is highly sexualized. Yet "her new songs address serious themes like women's shame about their bodies and the need for open communication in relationships; her often physically distorting costumes show that the pursuit of the feminine ideal is far from natural" (Powers 2009). Until Gaga, much of the trend was creating sleek, Botox-ed bodies that looked anything but natural. Gaga emphasized the unreality of the music machine and its creation of starlets, rather than concealed it with smoke and mirrors. She is the first mainstream female artist to suggest the constructed nature of modern femininity by proclaiming herself a drag queen, and suggesting that to some extent all female attire is drag.

Gaga's costumes, which she designs herself, are designed to underline the constructed nature of femininity. They are harsh and alienating, like her meat dress, which suggests that all women are to some degree 'meat' in the public eye. Regardless of whether one agrees with her use of the meat dress, it was one of a long series of shocking fashion displays that aim not to create a beautiful feminine body, but aim to show how strange and harsh the methods of creating a feminine silhouette may be, from sky-high shoes to pointed brassieres. Gaga says that she loves fashion, but her clothes act as a kind of mockery of the attempts of female stars and singers to look conventionally beautiful through equally painful but obvious means.

Is Gaga a role model for young women -- or for anyone? Even Gaga herself says that she is an individual artist, with an individualistic orientation. However, it is this individualism that makes her so remarkable. Even if people may not aspire to mimic Lady Gaga's style, they can embrace her nonconformist approach to life and delight in her music. Gaga never holds herself above her fans, for all of her outrageous posturing, as manifested in the connection she openly establishes with them online. That is why Gaga's fans do not merely love one or two of her songs. They love her, and the entirety of her output as a performer. Gaga has brought back the concept of a long-awaited album. She has revived interest in music and the performance of music, and created a sense of passion about following music that had been absent from the industry for too many years. That is why she should come to our school and stand as a role model for our student body.

Works Cited

"Lady Gaga tells all." Rolling Stone. June 21, 2010. [November 11, 2011].

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lady-gaga-tells-all-rolling-stones-new-issue-20100621#ixzz1dRIFREJj

"Poker Face." Lyrics. [November 11, 2011].

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/lady_gaga/poker_face.html

Powers, Ann. "Frank Talk with Lady Gaga." The LA Times. 2009. [November 11, 2011].

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/13/entertainment/la-ca-lady-gaga13-2009dec13

"The rise of Lady Gaga." 2009. [November 11, 2011].

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-new-issue-of-rolling-stone-the-rise-of-lady-gaga-20090527 [END OF PREVIEW]

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